AP – Who Are Today’s Farmers And What Are Their Educational Needs?
Farmers are changing! According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, almost 78 percent of farms in 2002 had annual sales of less than $50,000 – down significantly from previous years. Farmers have less time available for day-time workshops and are becoming more adept at obtaining information and participating in educational opportunities via the internet and private providers. Extension educators had only anecdotal evidence on the information desired and educational methodologies preferred by farmers. A statistically valid survey was conducted in 2006 of farmers in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. The questionnaire was designed to discover the demographics, preferences for learning methodologies, greatest threats, and information demands of today’s farmers. Survey results will aid in the identification of new Extension clientele and their education methodology preferences and perceived risks. Educators will be better able to develop risk management programs demanded by a far broader audience and to more efficiently use scarce resources.
Key Words: rural family, clientele, education, risk management, farming.